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Born and raised in Texas. In Boulder, Colorado now. Forty-three. Blackfeet. Into werewolves and slashers and zombies. Would wear pirate shirts a lot if I could find them. And probably carry some kind of sword. More over at http://demontheory.net or @SGJ72
If Stephen Graham Jones' wickedly clever "Demon Theory" were to ever be made into an actual film, the witty tagline might go something like this: "Someone has taken his love of MLA too far." Culled from the fictional case notes of the fictional Dr. Neider at the equally imaginary Owl Creek Mental Facilities, "Demon Theory" is presented as a three-part novelization of the movie trilogy "The Devil Inside", based on the (you guessed it) fictional best-selling novel inspired by said notes. Part literary film treatment, part pop culture lexicon, "Demon Theory" tells a triptych of interconnected stories (imagined here as sequels) concerning a group of Midwestern med school pals and their encounters with the nasty titular creatures. Imagine throwing "Jeepers Creepers", the "Scream" films, TV's "Grey's Anatomy", and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" into a blender and mixing on high.
In part one, or Demon Theory 16, Hale, Nona, Con, and gang leave the trick-or-treat festivities of a Halloween party behind when Hale's diabetic mother calls with a medical emergency. Faster than you can utter the words trapped-at-an-isolated-country-house-in-a-snowstorm, these future doctors of America find themselves slasher fodder for a demon with an axe to grind (or in this case, garden shears). Part two, or Demon Theory 17, finds much of the gang, in one (re)incarnation or another, reunited in a hospital at Christmastime in a breathless, action-packed "Aliens" meets "Halloween II" roller coaster ride of gory entrails and acidic demon blood. Finally, in the third and final Demon Theory 18, several of the battle-weary characters return to the scene of the crime in order to figure the whole existential mess out.Read more ›
On Halloween night a med student named Hale gets a disturbing call from his mother. He heads out to the old farmhouse with a group of his fellow students to render aid. When they arrive there is no sign of Hale's mom but something is there waiting to pick them off one by one. Stranded because of a snow storm they must try to stay alive until morning while figuring out just what the hell is snatching them up.
Demon Theory is hands-down amazing, brilliant even. Easily one of the best books I've read in ages. I haven't stopped thinking about it since I finished. I must warn you, if you're into spoon-fed horror with predictable outcomes and characters then don't read this book. I'm not going to say I'm an intellectual but I am well read and I had to focus all my attention into the story. Hell I may not even be smart enough to write this review with the acclaim it deserves.
Stephen Graham Jones' Demon Theory is essentially the novelization of a horror movie trilogy written as a literary film treatment based on the notes of the fictitious Dr. Neider complete with footnotes. Ahhh the footnotes. Footnotes of not just horror trivia but info on hair bands, comic books and TV shows (Manimal!) as well. I thought I knew a lot of pop culture but Dr. Jones left me in the dust. I have to say however that the footnotes, while fascinating, kept drawing me out of the story. I'd recommend reading the story with the footnotes, then rereading the story alone. I'd actually like to see a small companion book with just the footnotes, they were that interesting. For example, where else can you read facts that start at THE GATE and end at APOCALYPSE NOW?Read more ›
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Take every slasher horror convention you've ever seen on screen and deconstruct it on the page, with characters who are somewhat aware that they are part of the genre. The book is at once familiar and wholly original. It's sort of the literary equivalent of "Scream" (when it first came out and everyone was excited, anyway). Told as a trilogy, each "part" actually reads like a movie sequel (except that the third part is the best of the three). At first I thought some of the dialogue was a bit stale, but it's totally in service to the genre, and the archetypes become funny over time. Jones has a great gift for description, and you'll find yourself reading some passages a second time just to savor it.
Not many complaints. The footnotes can be a little distracting if you let them, which I didn't. I read some and skipped many, as I grew up with all the same pop culture and understood the references. I recommend reading each of the three sections of this book without putting it down for too long, as it can be a little hard to keep track of time and place in spots. The characters are all introduced at once, so at first it's difficult to keep them distinct in your mind until we learn more about them. I would've prefered more gradual introductions.
If you're looking for a fresh take on horror, and especially if you grew up in the 80s, this is for you.
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---- int. of reviewers apt. closeup of his fingers on his laptop feverishly typing, then cam pans out to include his face almost panting over excitement at finishing Demon Theory.
The Editorial review and other Amazon reviewers have summed up the plot more than adequately so the cam focuses on me in f.g. typing instead purely my opinion as opposed to another summary. My only comments on the plot will be to say this book can be found in the horror section of bookstores. Elements are definiitely horrific. Also Stephen Graham Jones's novel is one of the scariest I have read lately. However his writing transcends the genre. It is a novel "based on a movie based on a book". Cultural refereces both pop and more ambiguous flow through the pages. Movie and other books are mentioned and then endnoted. As another pointed out this could and did make it a little disjointed at first. However I soon adapted and appreciate the research that went into this book. Even if as much of the said research was in a theatre than in a library it is still deeply done and therefore it enlightens as it entertains.
The whole adaptation also threw me at first as I was not uised to a narrative style that read more like a screenplay than a novel. Again I adapted and soon appreciated Jone's prose. His style gave new meaning to the maxim show don't tell as reading Demon Theory I found it easy to imagine the scenes as they were described.
It is hard to truly review this tale element by element as it is so original and well written I would need my own endnotes to truly do it justice. Suffice it to say I found it an amazingly enjoyable, gripping read. Bottom line as I said this is usually found in horror section and although it contains graphic material it really is just a really great novel that happens to be scary. Even if you are not a horror fan I can see anyone who likes a good story really praising this book.
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